Wait, is there another goalie controversy in Anaheim?


When the Ducks traded Frederik Andersen to the Leafs, it was widely assumed the “Who’s No. 1?” debate was over.

John Gibson was Anaheim’s guy, after splitting time with Andersen in each of the last two seasons. The Ducks had finally decided to embrace a definitive starter and opt out of the platoon goalie system, after dealing with it for years.

Before Anderson and Gibson, it was Andersen and Jonas Hiller. Before Anderson and Hiller, it was Hiller and Viktor Fasth. In fact, you have to go all the way back to ’11-12 for the last time Anaheim had a clear-cut starter.

That was supposed to change this year.

Until it didn’t.

Gibson was the No. 1 for the majority of the season. But then he suffered a prolonged lower-body injury, and has played exactly once in the last 39 days — a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Mar. 10.

Jonathan Bernier, meanwhile, has been the goalie of record in 16 of the last 17 games. He’s also been as good as Gibson, if not better, since taking the starting gig. In the month of March alone, Bernier went 10-1-2 with a .941 save percentage.

So you know what that means. With just five games left in the regular season, it’s time for Anaheim’s annual rite of passage: Asking who starts in the playoffs!

From the O.C. Register:

Bernier continues to keep the net as Gibson has become available, watching on for the second straight game after recovering from a lower-body injury. Bernier’s lights-out play for more than a month is a key reason why the Ducks are in position to win a fifth straight Pacific Division title.

Asked whether he felt it was important to keep Bernier in rhythm, Carlyle has gone with his tried-and-true response that “we know that we’re going to need both goaltenders.”

“We’ve stated that right from the opening of training camp that we felt we had a 1A and 1B tandem,” Carlyle added. “Obviously, Gibby was our guy and we went with him but he got hurt. He’s been out for more than a month and Bernie come in and gave us the same level of goaltending.

“It’s a unique situation to be in, but it’s one that I think any coach would take at this juncture, especially this time of the season.”

Bernier added to the intrigue with his remarks.

“There’s five games left in the season now,” he said. “I want to really make sure that I’m fresh and, at the same time, mentally ready to go for Game 1.”

The x-factor in all this, of course, is Carlyle.

Anaheim’s history of flip-flopping in goal fell at the feet of Bruce Boudreau (his handling of goalies was largely believed to be part of the reason for his dismissal). Boudreau started Gibson in last year’s opening-round playoff loss to the Preds, only to switch to Andersen midway through. And then there was the infamous ’14 playoffs, in which Boudreau started three different goalies — Andersen, Gibson and Hiller — over a 13-game span.

The Ducks are back in action on Saturday, when they take on the Oilers in Edmonton. Given both are gunning for top spot in the Pacific Division, the game has plenty of meaning — so Carlyle’s starting goalie choice could be pretty telling.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs Schedule for Sunday, April 23

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Only two series remain in the first-round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and both of them continue on Sunday.

First, the Boston Bruins look to push their first-round series to a seventh game after their double overtime win on Friday when they host the Ottawa Senators on Sunday afternoon. That game will be followed by Washington Capitals trying to, as Barry Trotz wants to see, push the Toronto Maple Leafs off the cliff.

Here is everything you for Sunday’s games, both of which will be shown on the NBC networks and streamed online.

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)

Video: Oilers showed off depth beyond McDavid in beating Sharks

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As the Art Ross winner and Hart Trophy frontrunner, there’s no doubt that Connor McDavid is the catalyst for the Edmonton Oilers.

Still, the scary thing for opponents is that, while he created chances against the San Jose Sharks, McDavid wasn’t exactly lighting them up for points.

Nope, as Mike Rupp and Jeremy Roenick discuss in the video above, the Oilers advanced thanks as much to depth scorers – and deft goaltending from Cam Talbot – as they did because of McDavid’s blistering combination of skill and speed.

Now, the Anaheim Ducks rank as an interesting opponent. While the Sharks could slow McDavid with one of the few blueliners who could really give him trouble – relatively speaking – in Marc-Edouard Vlasic, it remains to be seen if Anaheim can accomplish the same.

(A fully healthy Hampus Lindholm would increase their odds, mind you.)

Either way, the Oilers’ “other guys” deserve some credit, and they get it in the video above.

The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)


Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime


After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.


With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.